Gerry Maher RIP (18/1/1956 – 8/4/2014)
On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 8th the word started to filter around the club of the sudden death of one of our own – Gerry Maher. The shock of Gerry’s untimely death shook us all as we tried to get our heads around the unfathomable. Indeed that evening Pat Conway summed it all up in a tweet that said “Sincere condolences to the Maher family on the passing of Gerry this morning. A real gent and a great clubman. Will be sadly missed. RIP”. We can imagine Gerry’s eyes cast upwards with a wry smile at the thought of a tweet, but Pat summed it up – a real gent and a great clubman.
Gerry moved to Dublin from Oylegate in Wexford and played hurling initially with Oliver Plunketts/Eoin Ruadh but soon found his way with his brother Brendan to the southside where they threw in their lot with Ballyboden St. Enda’s. Gerry was very involved in the club. He was first and foremost a hurler, playing for many years in the blue and white. He also mentored our first Dublin Féile winning team in 1991. The team went on to win many juvenile honours including the Minor Championship in 1995. Latter years saw Gerry play music in the club (an accomplished guitarist with a sweet voice) and also an active involvement in the Boden Drama Society. Gerry was also our Hurley Salesman for two years keeping us all in quality ash both juvenile and adult.
Gerry played for many years with the club initially in the full back line and then moved into the role for which he was most famous – our goalkeeper. This was a position fitting with Gerry – solid, dependable and always there. At a time when hurling trophies were not so plentiful in the club cabinet Gerry was part of a golden era for junior hurling in the club when winning leagues, cups and championships was an almost annual event. Gerry was the “man in the gap” for our club and represented Ballyboden with dignity and pride. Gerry’s finest hour came in the ’96 county final when he pulled off save after save putting his body on the line enabling Boden to win the day against a very strong Naomh Olafs outfit in O’ Toole Park. Gerry was awarded Man Of The Match in the Herald for that sterling performance! Indeed that was the performance that inspired the chant which lasted many years – “Gerry Maher is unbelievable!” That year was a special one for Gerry as it was also the year that his beloved Purple and Gold won the All Ireland. Indeed the year was capped off nicely when Larry O’ Gorman came to the club to present the medals to our victorious Junior Championship team and their heroic goalie from Wexford.
Gerry worked in the South Dublin County Council. He had recently taken early retirement from his position with the intention of moving home to Oylegate. He had spent more and more time down home in recent years helping his siblings (Anne, Maudie, Brendan and Alan) to look after his ailing mother, Bridie. Sadly, Bride passed away before Christmas. Little did we think that we would be visiting Oylegate again so soon for another funeral. Gerry’s funeral was incredibly sad. However, as his body was brought into Oylegate the men who had hurled with Gerry from Ballyboden gave him a Guard of Honour befitting such a great club man. It was important that the people of Oylegate could see how much he meant to Ballyboden St. Enda’s and Gerry surely smiled down from above on a sunny spring evening in Wexford. After the removal we made our way into The Slaney Inn where we exchanged stories amongst ourselves and with the people of Oylegate of hurling matches from years ago. When describing Gerry’s passing the man of the house put it best when he said that “he never rushed anything except this” – he knew Gerry well. Gerry was methodical and careful. He took his time with all that he did ensuring that it was done well. That Gerry was taken so fast from us was a terrible shock. We will all miss him – a real gent and a great clubman. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Ultan Mac Mathúna